Lifestyle changes will not cure sickle cell disease. However, they may reduce the number and severity of sickle cell crises.
Healthy foods can help overall health. They can help the body fight infections. Folic acid is very important in making red blood cells. This may reduce the impact of anemia.
Low levels of fluid in the body make it easier for blood cells to clump together. This can lead to sickle cell crisis. Drinking at least 8 full glasses of water each day can help.
Physical activity helps overall health and energy. But strenuous activity can be harmful. It can lower the amount of oxygen that is available in the body. This can raise the risk of a sickle cell crisis. A person should talk to their doctor about what kind of exercise is best.
All bodies need time to rest and recover. Rest helps improve health and the body's ability to fight infection.
It is important to know when to call the doctor. Certain symptoms need medical care. This includes symptoms such as a fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or higher.
A sickle cell crisis lowers how much oxygen the body gets. Being active increases the need for oxygen. Combined, this can lower the oxygen for the organs even more. It can lead to lasting tissue damage.
Bed rest during a sickle cell crisis can reduce this risk.
Physical and emotional stress seem to trigger sickle cell crisis. It helps to avoid stress, when possible. Relaxation skills can also help.
Long term diseases can be very stressful. Support groups can be very helpful. People can learn or share coping skills with others who also have sickle cell disease.
Things that can start or worsen a crisis are:
Salmonella is bacteria that can make people ill. It can be more harmful in people with sickle cell disease. The risk may be lowered by:
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Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated: 3/4/2021